United Fresh winter leadership meeting sets agendaThe United Fresh Produce Association is targeting food safety, immigration, the farm bill and nutrition policy this year.

The group’s board members set those priorities at their annual winter leadership meeting, Jan. 28-30 in Tucson, Ariz. About 250 attended the meeting.

“The January meeting had a lot to do with the food safety regulation, and there was a lot of industry work going on around that,” David Krause, United Fresh chairman and president of Paramount Citrus, Delano, Calif. said Feb. 4.

Krause said the next board of directors meeting will be at United Fresh 2013 in May in San Diego. That meeting will be timely, occurring just before the end of the public comment period on the Foood and Drug Administration’s produce safety rule, he said.

“We’re excited about that venue and location, and it’s going to be an action-packed show,” he said.

In other developments in Tucson, the United Fresh board announced two advisory councils.

The Produce Marketing and Merchandising Council brings together marketing and merchandising experts from grower-shippers, processors, wholesalers, retailers and foodservice companies, according to a news release. Roger Pepperl, marketing director at Wenatchee, Wash.-based Stemilt Growers, is the chairman,

The Finance and Business Management Council addresss financial and strategic business planning, family business and estate transfer, financing and investment, insurance/health care and other topics, according to the release. Scott Danner, chief operating officer of Liberty Fruit Co., Kansas City, Mo., is the chairman.

United Fresh is seeking volunteers to serve on the two councils. For more information, contact Victoria Backer at vbacker@unitedfresh.org or 202-303-3408, according to the release.

United Fresh also announced the formation of a Biotechnology Task Force. United Fresh has a “technology neutral” position regarding biotechnology at the grower level, according to the release. The policy supports the industry’s ability to use both conventional and organic production as well as the use of any new technology such as genetically modified varieties that are approved by the government, according to the release.

At the meeting, Lorri Koster, chief executive officer for Mann Packing Co., Salinas, Calif., was named acting secretary-treasurer of United Fresh, according to the release.